The level of the women’s race in Red Hook Crit keeps rising. RHC London No.3 had an extremely high level with world-class road and track cyclists competing including Dani King. However, it was fixed gear crit racer Raphaele Lemieux that walked away with the victory showing the strength of today’s fixed gear crit riders. Red Hook Criterium Barcelona No.5 continues the trend with yet again a very strong and competitive women’s field. Together with Aventon Factory manager Sean Burke we ranked the top favourites for the race with 5 stars being the maximum.
Text: Sean Burke & Brian Megens
** Sami Sauri
Sami Sauri is the local favourite in the women’s race and on a good day she can be part of the elite group. If she keeps improving she could be a real factor in the race. Barcelona is her hometown, so she’ll likely be a crowd favorite, and her fans could give her the motivation she needs.
*** Carla Nafria
Carla Nafria is a fast finisher who recently won the Oakley Crit in Italy. She didn’t live up to expectations in London, but racing in her home country of Spain may give her some extra motivation. Working against her is the fact that she doesn’t have any teammates, but neither did Lemieux in London or Gulick in Brooklyn.
*** Ainara Elbusto Arteaga
Ainara Elbusto Arteaga has won in Barcelona before. She has a wicked finishing sprint and is always a threat. Working against her is the fact that she hasn’t raced a Red Hook Crit in almost a year, and that she has no teammates. Despite those facts, if she’s in good position with a lap to go, then she’ll have a good chance at the win.
*** Tanja Erath
Tanja Erath is a frequent winner of fixed gear crits and was on her way to a top-5 spot in London before crashing out of the last corner. She dominated the smaller races, and we believe it is just a matter of time before she get’s that Red Hook Criterium victory.
*** Ash Duban
Ash Duban hasn’t won a Red Hook Crit, since 2014. The competition level has gone up in those 3 short years, but you can simply never count Ash Duban out. A flat took her out of the race in London, so she’ll be ready to show what she’s got in Barcelona.
**** Jasmine Dotti
Jasmine Dotti was third in Barcelona last year, and she recently finished 3rd to Lemieux and Saraiva in London. She’s been on the RHC podium on 3 occasions, and is always a factor in the race. She’s unlikely to outsprint some of the fastest finishers, but in a small breakaway, she may be the one to watch.
***** Raphaele Lemieux
Raphaele Lemieux had a dominating performance in London. She was practically unstoppable. She trains in the cold wet weather of Montreal, so the bad weather of London may have played to her advantage. Will she lose that advantage on a dry Barcelona evening? However, in recent parking lot training in Canada she impressed Brian Megens “I don’t believe that more than 3 women will be able to follow her on the technical course of Barcelona.”
***** Eleonore Saraiva
Eleonore Saraiva has proved she is one of the best by putting in the fastest qualifying lap in every RHC she has entered although she did start 2nd in London, but there was no Super Pole due to weather conditions. She won’t have Sammi Runnels there to help her, but a crash and flat kept Runnels out of the meat of the race in London, and Saraiva appeared to do fine without her. Saraiva has two second placed this year, and is hungry for a win.